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Evening Post Match Coverage - PSL Panthers V Saracens 12/03/11

Please see below our 3rd Evening Post article this season, on the 1st team's match V Saracens on 12/03/11

Panthers show their claws in title battle

DIVISION II title-hopefuls Saracens suffered a setback as top-of-the-table Panthers ran out easy winners.

Saracens went into the game in second place and needing a victory to eat into the Panthers' lead at the top.

They started off well and with defences in the ascendency, Saracens established a 9-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Such was the ferocity of the Saracens' defence, especially in the circle, the Panthers were forced to work hard especially in attack.

With inconsistent shooting, Panthers were unable to make the most of their opportunities. Saracens attack had an extra player in centre court as Panthers' player-of-the-match goal defence Sarah Hewitt and goal keeper Kathy Silsbury were zone marking in the circle. As a result, several of the passes to the Saracens shooter went astray.

Saracens started the second quarter well with a couple of quick goals, but failed to sustain the effort.

Panthers, on the other hand, found their rhythm taking the ball down the court with pace and conviction.

Some slick passing between wing attack Catherine Cornford and goal attack Anne-Marie Layet and accurate shooting saw Panthers draw level and gradually took an 18-14 half-time lead.

In the third quarter, Saracens continued to find it difficult to feed the ball into the shooters because of the effective zone marking and excellent interceptions by the defence. Even so, they kept up the pressure. Tight defending by Saracens' goal keeper Katherine Page and player of the match goal defence Kirsten Dunhill unsettled the Panthers' shooters resulting in lost scoring opportunities.

Nevertheless, at the end of the third period, Panthers had a 26-21 lead. Despite being ahead in the final quarter, Panthers' stepped up their work rate. They defended every pass, chased all loose balls, particularly rebounds from the goal posts. This gave them the advantage, so that they pulled even further ahead.

Panthers: Rachel Potter, Anne-Marie Layet, Catherine Cornford, Sarah Cleverley, Jacqui Buss, Sarah Hewitt, Katy Silsbury, Kelly Saunders

Saracens: Annette Badham, Jodie Baker, Nicky Moon, Julia Sowdem, Claire Kerslake, Kirsten Dunhill, Katherine Page